Actors Sue for 'Lord of the Rings' Profits

Fifteen actors from The Lord of the Rings movies have filed suit against film studio New Line, accusing the company of a breach of contract over merchandising. The New Zealand actors filed court papers in Los Angeles Superior Court last Wednesday, alleging New Line broke an agreement to pay them five per cent of an estimated $100 million profits from merchandising sales, such as caps, games and mugs. The actors' lawyer Henry Gradstein said New Line took "gross participation" fees that the company wasn't entitled to. Gradstein says, "The expenses will always be approximately 104 per cent. It's Hollywood accounting." This is the latest of several lawsuits New Line have been served with in relation to the film adaptation of the J.R.R. Tolkien classic novels. In 2005, director Peter Jackson accused New Line of withholding profits from the first installment in the trilogy The Fellowship Of The Ring, while producer Saul Zaentz settled out of court with the firm over the rights to the books. According to industry newspaper Variety, the fifteen actors filing lawsuits are: Noel Appleby, Jed Brophy, Mark Ferguson, Ray Henwood, Bruce Hopkins, William Johnson, Nathaniel Lees, Sarah McLeod, Ian Mune, Paul Norell, Craig Parker, Robert Pollock, Martyn Sanderson, Peter Tait and Stephen Ure.

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